Tackling abortion discrimination on behalf of the disabled unborn

Paul Givan MLA and disability campaigner Heidi Crowter speak to the Institute’s Ciarán Kelly about their work to end abortion up to birth for those deemed to have a ‘severe foetal impairment’.

Mr Givan has brought forward the Severe Fetal Impairment Abortion (Amendment) Bill to end these kind of abortions. Heidi Crowter, who has Down’s Syndrome, is one of those supporting the Bill.

Back in 2019, with the Stormont Assembly suspended, the Westminster Government voted to impose the UK’s most liberal abortion law on the people of Northern Ireland.

It came into effect at the end of March last year, despite huge opposition in the Province itself.

As well as allowing abortion on demand up to 12 weeks, the new regulations allow abortion up to birth in cases of what’s called ‘severe foetal impairment’. This is where “if the child were born, it would suffer from such physical or mental impairment as to be seriously disabled”.

As in the rest of the UK, this means legal abortion of babies with Down’s Syndrome, cleft palate and club foot right up birth.

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